Just like the previous year, Smart Communications once again went all out with their launch of the iPhone 5 via a simultaneous midnight countdown at nine different locations around Metro Manila–the main event happening at the Newton Mall’s plaza in Resorts World Manila, Pasay City.
The clamor for Apple’s newest phone was evident as the hashtag #iwantiPhone5 became a trending Twitter topic nationwide as eager patrons awaited the official local release.
Thousands of Smart subscribers placed their iPhone 5 reservations as early as December 7 and as the hour struck at midnight, an estimated 2,000 customers lined up to claim the highly anticipated phone.
“iPhone has a strong and devoted following in the Philippines. We expect this to get even stronger with the launch of iPhone 5,” exclaimed Ramon Isberto, head of the Public Affairs Group of Smart, in an interview with The Manila Times. “And Smart promises that if you use the device with our network, you will get the best possible experience.”
The Smart official added, “Even though Smart was not the first one to offer the iPhone, the word has still gotten around that Smart is capable of handling these mobile data devices with DNA like those of computers. The handset is the same whatever network you go to. The difference is the capability of the network to maximize the power of these devices.”
The iPhone 5 carries the iOS 6, the most advanced mobile operating system in the world with over 200 new features including Shared Photo Streams, Facebook integration, Maps app and Passbook organization, among others. It is also installed with Apple’s A6 chip that offers even faster performance, as well as the HSPA wireless technology for better connectivity.
In terms of the appearance, the iPhone 5 is also the thinnest and lightest ever, completely redesigned to feature a new four-inch Retina display. For battery life, expect iPhone 5 to last longer than most smartphones.
iPhone boom According to Isberto, iPhone’s following in the Philippines continues to grow as more and more Filipinos shift to smartphones. He explained, “If you follow the trend that is happening worldwide, there will be more and more smartphones. In the country, smartphones users are estimated at 15 percent to 20 percent [out of all mobile phone users]–and soon to increase. There are also studies that say we are the fastest growing smartphone market in Southeast Asia.”
Of course, iPhone 5 is on the lead. “We expect consumer interest [for iPhones] to be strong. It is getting to be a habit,” enthused Isberto.
To accommodate the continuous rise in iPhone users and other smartphones, the network had modernized and expanded its service.
Isberto shared, “Let me put it this way, I think we established a record that we provisioned for the future. We saw that data devices like the iPhone 5 for example, will become a significant part of the market, the demand in the market will increase significantly. This is why we invested and modernized our network early on.”
In late 2011, Smart began replacing all its radio equipments in 9,500 base stations with next-generation facilities easily upgradable to fourth generation technologies like HSPA+ and LTE. It was in July of this year that the network completed the installation and optimization of the new equipments for its entire cellular network all over the country. The modernization increased the network’s capacity to handle voice, text messaging and mobile broadband services.
‘Sweet spot’ As to what the Smart postpaid plans will offer for the iPhone 5, Isberto said that the “sweet spot” lies in the SMS and voice call for all networks.
“If you look at the plan, I think you will see very quickly, which is the sweet spot in terms of the contents of the offer, the SMS and voice calls. We expect that most iPhone users will switch to postpaid plans. Because I think it’s a very good offer and has value for money.”
At iPhone Plan 999, Smart subscribers will get 40 call minutes and 100 texts while enjoying unlimited internet data consumption; while iPhone Plan 2499 offers 300 call minutes and texts on top of unlimited internet data consumption as well.
Also at iPhone Plan 2499, the iPhone 5 16GB and 32 GB models will be free, and the iPhone 5 64GB model will be sold at only P6,000.
The iPhone 5 can also be availed from other Smart postpaid plans like the All In and Unli Data plans. Prepaid offers are also up for grabs, with iPhone 5 models ranging from P33,000 to P44,000.
For complete information on Smart’s iPhone 5 plans and offerings, visit Smart.com.
The Manila Times